Struggling with overflowing filing cabinets and unwieldy spreadsheets? This cloud-based accounting software can help

Sports coaching company ProActiv Sports turned to Xero to streamline its processes in 2014 and has never looked back since

Turning to cloud-based accounting software Xero helped ProActiv Sports bring all its accounting processes online for more efficiency, enabling the business to focus on managing its companies in different countries. PHOTO: PROACTIV SPORTS

Like many small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) growing fast, ProActiv Sports once found itself struggling to cope with the sheer volume of business transactions.

Hard copies of invoices and bills were being sent and received regularly, and keeping track of them on Excel spreadsheets was becoming cumbersome.

That's not to mention the receipts that piled up each month as more people signed up for the sports programmes that the company runs for both adults and kids.

Says Mr William Murray, ProActiv Sports' co-founder and managing director: "Every month, we'd have to submit all the hard copies to our accountant. It was extremely time consuming and, if you misplaced anything, it was a nightmare."

But the issue was more than just an administrative one because it also affected how well the business was run, and whether it could grow and scale over time.

Efficiency is key

Founded in Hong Kong in 2011, ProActiv Sports expanded to Singapore in 2014 and to Malaysia in 2019. More than 5,000 children and adults participate in its programmes every week.

"We were spending too much time on our monthly accounting, which took time away from us focusing on the other aspects of the business," explains Mr Murray.

ProActiv Sports offers a variety of sports and fitness programmes for kids of all age groups, such as swimming and soccer, and even multi-activity sports camps. PHOTO: PROACTIV SPORTS

"Also, pulling up monthly reports was very difficult, which meant that we couldn't analyse our numbers as much, or as easily, as we can now," he adds.

The company switched to Xero's cloud-based accounting solution in 2014, which now helps automate many of the previously manual processes and offers insights into the business by analysing the data that is collected.

So, instead of keying in every payable and receivable manually into an Excel spreadsheet, the information is captured by the Xero solution automatically.

For example, a booking platform set up on its website in June last year was integrated with Xero, and the related payment system called Stripe. This way, all the payments received are automatically entered into the accounts as they come in, without the intervention of a staff member.

It helps that the Xero system connects directly to the sports company's bank, which means there is no need to worry about data entry errors as well.

Using Xero has made the reconciliation of payments much easier and more convenient, says Mr Murray.

"The reports system is a gamechanger, and it allows us to pull up tailored weekly and monthly financial reports to analyse our progress and predict any possible issues. New platforms can also be added easily since Xero integrates with most of them."

More room for growth

Most importantly, automating processes have freed up ProActiv Sports' staff to focus on other aspects of the business.

In today's fast-evolving business landscape, companies need to pivot to more efficient processes to transform their accounting practices. PHOTO: XERO

And since the solution is cloud-based, it can be accessed from anywhere, with a smartphone app or a PC, for example. This means business owners can quickly get a glimpse of important indicators, such as cash flow or expenses.

Such information would have been difficult to discover from large spreadsheets and piles of expense claims without spending valuable time on it. With their accounting system transformed digitally, this information is literally at the fingertips of business owners.

Of course, changing from one system to another is never a trivial task. Though it usually involves a fair bit of effort to move one's accounting to a new system, for ProActiv Sports, the training it received from Fresh Accounting, a Xero-certified accounting firm, helped ease the transition.

There's also a bit of self-learning and getting to know the new interface, but all in all, the change has been smooth, notes Mr Murray, who calls Xero "one of the best business decisions we have made".

The company is now looking to extend its usage of Xero to payroll as well. This means the salary payments can be recorded and more easily managed at the end of each month.

For Mr Murray, this is another time-saver that will not only result in more productivity, but also help enhance the business in the long term.

"As the cliche goes, time is money," he says. "Xero has saved us so much time and is an extremely user-friendly platform which allows us to focus on what's important in our business ⁠-⁠ providing the best possible sports programmes for the children of Asia to ensure everyone has the opportunity to live a healthy and active life!"

Visit to digitally transform your business' accounting needs today.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.